Jazz lives from the special character of its melodies and its abundant variations. But what does one do when on is looking for inspiration beyond the jazz standards set by Gershwin and Cole Porter? For Remzi Emek, one of the founders and initiators of the Anatolian Jazz Orchestra, the answer is obvious, he has perused the centuries old treasure trove of Anatolian melodies und looked for ways to give the resulting jazz music a new impulse through melodic beauty and rhythmic complexity. The Turkish trombonist who lives in Berlin has been playing with the idea for many years to combine the folk music of his homeland with his love of jazz into one big ensemble.
Just as open-minded concert goers are always on the lookout for new sounds and interesting artists, Jazz musicians are always searching for new musical challenges. Those of us who have had the privilege of experiencing a Turkish wedding (something that the orchestra had the opportunity to do), have some idea about the differences between cultures. On the one hand there is tradition, on the other hand, the modern. The resulting tension can be observed in daily life, particularly n Berlin. So it is no wonder that it is here in Berlin that the musicians had no difficulty in finding the inspiration for such a project. The Anatolian Jazz Orchestra comprises an unusual ensemble of instruments (four trombones, trumpet, saxophone, mey and saz - baglama soloists, a singer and rythmic group) which rework old Anatolian songs into modern Jazz arrangements. When they started out, the ensemble began by basically improvising with these "new melodies from another culture". But it quickly became clear to them that the wealth of Anatolian music was enhanced a good deal more by the original instruments and singing. Together with the Turkish soloists instrumentalist Özgür Ersoy and singer Sibil Egilmez, the Anatolian Jazz Orchestra have been able to create exactly this connection between traditional Anatolian music and modern jazz.
For the musicians, the Anatolian Jazz Orchestra has in the meanwhile become more than just a "band". Their joint work on the arrangements and at their performances extends far more to just the music. It is an exciting journey of discovery. The fusion of these two diverse cultures and the desire to experiment is what makes this ensemble so distinctive.
In 2009 their CD Zeytin Agaci“ (Olive Tree) was released, featuring arrangements written by D. Jalowietzki specially for the Anatolian Jazz Orchestra. Since then they have also collaborated on a series of new pieces resulting in a steadily growing repertoire. It testifies to the Band's constant and continuing development and the fun that they have playing their wonderful music.